Holiday Inspiration

Los Angeles Guide

By Susan Ward Davies

Where to Stay in LA

chateau marmont lobby

Los Angeles plies a good trade in luxury hotels. From the hallowed halls of the Chateau Marmont, above (8221 Sunset Blvd, (323) 656-1010, chateaumarmont.com) to the Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd, (310) 276-2251, beverlyhillshotel.com) with its iconic banana leaf wallpaper, there’s no shortage of places to indulge in a memorable night’s stay (and inevitably spot a celebrity or eight in the process). For a real taste of old-school Hollywood glamour, you can’t do better than the Sunset Tower Hotel (8358 W Sunset Blvd, (323) 654-7100, sunsettowerhotel.com); an art deco masterpiece that has played host to everyone from Frank Sinatra to Johnny Depp.

shutters on the beach

Closer to the beach – in fact, right on it – is Santa Monica’s luxurious Shutters on the Beach, above (1 Pico Blvd, (310) 458-0030, shuttersonthebeach.com), where the vibe is strictly upmarket SoCal glam. A couple of blocks away you’ll find Palihouse Santa Monica (1001 3rd St, 310) 394-1279, palihousesantamonica.com); the chic beachside outpost of West Hollywood’s equally hip Palihotel Melrose (7950 Melrose Ave, (323) 272-4588, pali-hotel.coM). And keep an eye out for the impending opening of The Ace Hotel (acehotel.com) in the ornate United Artists building in downtown LA. The newest location from the hotel group beloved by the international creative set is guaranteed to be every bit as hip as existing outposts in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs.

Where to Eat in LA

cafe gratitude la

It’s not hard to eat well in LA. From raw-only restaurants to gluten-free pizza joints, every diet, food fad and intolerance is catered to with a megawatt smile. If the sunshine has put you in a virtuous mood, then try a coldpressed concoction from Moon Juice in Silver Lake, (2839 W Sunset Blvd, 213 908 5407, moonjuiceshop.com) or Dita Von Teese’s favourite ‘I Am Fortified’ bowl of sautéed vegetables, kale, quinoa and avocado at Café Gratitude, above in Larchmont Village (639 N Larchmont Blvd, (323) 580-6383, cafegratitudela.com), where the food is delicious enough to warrant the cringey menu names.

tasting kitchen la

Of course, there are plenty of options for days when a plate of organic kale just won’t cut it. The hip surfing community of Venice is home to some of the city’s finest food, from salt roasted Branzino at The Tasting Kitchen, above (1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, (310) 392-6644, thetastingkitchen.com) to the squash blossom pizza at Beyonce and Jay-Z’s fave, Gjelina (1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, (310) 450-1429, gjelina.com).

animal restaurant la

Further into town, Animal, above (435 N Fairfax Ave, (323) 782-9225, animalrestaurant.com) is a perennially popular place to try LA’s take on ‘nose to tale’ dining, while Little Dom’s (2128 Hillhurst Ave, (323) 661-0055, littledoms.com) delivers a slice of NYC cool, gourmet Italian fare, and a buzzy crowd of local creatives and celebrities (Orlando Bloom is a regular). Still hungry? Downtown LA’s Alma (952 Broadway, (213) 244-1422, alma-la.com) just got voted the best new restaurant in America.

Where to Go Out in LA

cafe stella la

LA’s inescapable driving culture and restrictive licensing laws mean that the city’s club culture will never have Berlin quaking in its boots, but there are still plenty of places to people-watch over an artisan cocktail. Relive 1920s Hollywood at downtown speakeasy The Edison (108 W 2nd St #101, (213) 613-0000, edisondowntown.com), sip a Spiced Mule at decadent drinking hole, The Roger Room (370 N La Cienega Blvd, (310) 854-1300, therogerroom.com) or enjoy a French 75 a chic eastside bistro, Café Stella, above (3932 W Sunset Blvd, (323) 666-0265, cafestella.com).

a club called rhonda

If you’re in a dancing mood, then the nightclub at The Standard Hollywood (8300 W Sunset Blvd, (323) 650-9090, standardhotels.com) throws regular soirees covering genres from EDM to disco. For something a little grimier, venture to the eastside for a raucous night at anything-goes dance party, A Club Called Rhonda, above (rhondasays.net). It takes place at late-licence venue Los Globos (3040 W Sunset Blvd, (323) 666-6669, clublosglobos.com), which means you can twerk and vogue until 4am.

los globos la

What to Wear in LA

Truly, anything goes. As a general rule of thumb, though, Angelenos tend to prioritise comfort over everything; it’s no coincidence that most of the world’s luxe casualwear and denim brands, from James Perse to Paige to, um, Juicy Couture, stared life here. For day, opt for a super-soft slouchy tee and faded boyfriend jeans, then throw on a pair of heels or a maxi dress at night. Done.

Where to Go for Pampering in LA

wi spa la

There’s certainly no shortage of beautifying experiences in LA; after all, this is where many of the world’s most photographed women get paparazzi-flash ready. For a memorable grooming experience (with the pricetag to match), then get your brows shaped by Kim Kardashian’s favourite Anastasia Soares (438 N Bedford Dr, (310) 273-3155, Anastasia.net), your hair cut by Jennifer Lopez’s go-to stylist Tracey Cunningham at Meche Salon (8820 Burton Way, (310) 278-8930, mechesalonla.com), and your nails done by legendary manicurist Genia Gregorian at The Four Seasons hotel (300 South Doheny Drive, (310) 273-2222, fourseasons.com/losangeles).

Happy to keep it real with a no-frills experience? Try one of the traditional spas that can be found all over Koreatown. For less than a hundred bucks you can enjoy a thorough scrub or massage, plus all-day access to mineral pools, jade-laden steam rooms, and soothing clay dry saunas. Opt for a Milk and Honey Smoothie treatment at the Olympic Day Spa (3915 W Olympic Blvd, (323) 857-0666, olympicspala.com), or a late night mineral salt massage at Wi Spa (2700 Wilshire Blvd, (213) 487-2700, wispausa.com), which is open round the clock.

Where to Shop in LA

decades

For an easy way to cover all bases, take a long walk down Melrose Avenue, which covers the spectrum from upscale at one end (Theory, Paul Smith, Helmut Lang) to more generic high street stores like American Apparel further down. Take home a piece of Cali style in the form of repurposed silk jumpsuit from LA favourite Reformation (8253 Melrose Ave, (323) 852 0005, thereformation.com), or gems by local designers Vena Cava and LA Eyewear from stylish boutique, Ten Over Six (8425 Melrose Ave, (323) 330-9355, shop.tenoversix.com). Oh, and don’t forget to swing a right on La Cienega for an unmissable visit to Opening Ceremony (451 N La Cienega Blvd, (310) 652-1120, openingceremony.us).

Other must-visit shopping destinations include cutting edge boutique-cum-gallery Just One Eye (7000 Romaine Street, (888) 563-6858, justoneeye.com) where Takashi Murakami artwork hangs on the walls and limited edition artist/designer collaborations line the shelves (recently on sale: Damien Hirst x The Row backpacks for a cool $55,000), and high-end vintage mecca, Decades, above (8214 Melrose Ave, (323) 655-1960, decadesinc.com). Vintage shopping in LA warrants an entire guide of its own, but try to stop by the vast Rosebowl Flea Market (1001 Rose Bowl Drive, (323) 560-7469, rgcshows.com/RoseBowl.aspx) if you’re in town on the second Sunday of the month: the clothes, homeware, and sheer scale of the thing will blow your mind.

Don’t Leave Without

la niles harrison

Gawping at the freaks, geeks, and hot skater boys as you stroll along the boardwalk in Venice Beach. Sipping an ‘Angeleno’ iced coffee at Intelligentsia (3922 W Sunset Blvd, (323) 663-6173, intelligentsiacoffee.com) in Silver Lake. Cruising down Sunset Boulevard in a vintage convertible. Hiking up to the Griffith Park Observatory to take in a candyfloss sunset and spectacular views of the city.

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